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See detailA pulsating auroral X-ray hot spot on Jupiter
Gladstone, G. R.; Waite, J. H.; Grodent, Denis ULg et al

in Nature (2002), 415(6875), 1000-1003

Jupiter's X-ray aurora has been thought to be excited by energetic sulphur and oxygen ions precipitating from the inner magnetosphere into the planet's polar regions(1-3). Here we report high-spatial ... [more ▼]

Jupiter's X-ray aurora has been thought to be excited by energetic sulphur and oxygen ions precipitating from the inner magnetosphere into the planet's polar regions(1-3). Here we report high-spatial-resolution observations that demonstrate that most of Jupiter's northern auroral X-rays come from a 'hot spot' located significantly poleward of the latitudes connected to the inner magnetosphere. The hot spot seems to be fixed in magnetic latitude and longitude and occurs in a region where anomalous infrared(4-7) and ultraviolet(8) emissions have also been observed. We infer from the data that the particles that excite the aurora originate in the outer magnetosphere. The hot spot X-rays pulsate with an approximately 45-min period, a period similar to that reported for high-latitude radio and energetic electron bursts observed by near-Jupiter spacecraft(9,10). These results invalidate the idea that jovian auroral X-ray emissions are mainly excited by steady precipitation of energetic heavy ions from the inner magnetosphere. Instead, the X-rays seem to result from currently unexplained processes in the outer magnetosphere that produce highly localized and highly variable emissions over an extremely wide range of wavelengths. [less ▲]

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